Join a panel of alumnae business leaders from different industries on International Women’s Day, as they share how they discovered and carved out their career and entrepreneurial paths, with the goal of inspiring and offering tools of success for women in business. The speakers will discuss how they started, took ownership of their careers and developed confidence as female leaders in business, and they will provide practical tools, advice and useful resources. The panel will also cover:
The realities of day-to-day to life of leading or running a business
The realities of gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace and business
The barriers to career progression and why there are so few women in leadership roles
The role of mentorship and networking
How to be an ally
The speakers will answer questions during the Q&A after the panel discussion.
This event is organised in partnership with our Student Enterprise Centre (SEC) and is part of this year’s Westminster Inclusive Enterprise Festival; a series of events which aim to inspire, inform and empower a diverse and representative talent pipeline. The series will highlight the career paths paved by pioneering and successful industry leaders and entrepreneurs, representative of underrepresented communities and identity intersections. You can find out more and book into Westminster Inclusive Enterprise Festival events via Eventbrite.
About the speakers
Panel chair: Nikki Hayden, Transgender campaigner, consultant and host (BSc Hons Psychology, 2019)
Whilst studying psychology at Westminster, Nikki was the transgender representative and President of the LGBTI+ Society, previously hosting What it Takes to be LGBTI and Proud – you can watch a recording of this event here. She has worked as a campaigner for transgender rights for a number of years, talking openly about growing up in a working-class family, being made homeless due to being transgender and being physically and sexually attacked, including a number of recorded hate-crimes. Nikki has taken part in numerous national campaigns with companies including: Heathrow Airport, the British Film Institute, the BBC, The Independent, Huff Post and a host of other outlets.
Since graduating, Nikki has worked as a consultant and host. Some of her projects can be viewed on her website. Nikki is currently working in consulting, research and development with a production company and BAFTA-winning director on a transgender-related docuseries.
Marwa Thabet, Founder & CEO, Yalla Halal (MSc Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Enterprise Development, 2019)
Marwa Thabet moved from Yemen to London in 2018 to live with her grandparents and three aunts, and to study her postgraduate degree in entrepreneurship. In her own words: “Although I loved living in such a vibrant and diverse city, I found myself missing the comfort and flavours of the food of Yemen. Therefore, I searched high and low to find halal Islamic restaurants that deliver the same authenticity of my family’s home-cooking; however, I was surprised to find out that my home town Yemeni food was scarce in London. I was driven to create a convenient, online food service that takes away the struggle of identifying and finding halal food and delivering an authentic, Middle-Eastern as well as Arabic cuisine; and this is when then Yalla Halal was born.
“Since 2019, I’ve been working tirelessly to combine the flavours of Arabic and Muslim countries to the people of London and share the stories behind the unique and varied recipes that this part of the world has to offer. Through Yalla Halal, you can order exquisite, freshly-cooked food to your doorstep with our easy-to-use website where you can find a range of talented chefs, who can cook food from your hometown, to give you authentic everyday food as well as extra-special dishes for occasions such as Eid and Ramadan. Via this platform, I hope that people can experience and enjoy the incredible vibes of these celebrations!”
Michelle Charles, Permanent Secretary, Department of Education, Innovation and Gender Relations, Saint Lucia and Managing Director, CEO and Consultant, International Business & Management Consultant (MA International Business and Development, 2006)
Michelle Charles is a proponent of the idiom: “The fundamental cure for poverty is not money but knowledge,” a position posited by fellow Saint Lucian and Nobel Prize winner, Sir Arthur Lewis. This is reflected in her journey from very humble beginnings to heading one of the largest Ministries in the Public Service of Saint Lucia. Earlier in her career, Michelle worked tirelessly as a Meteorological Officer for 11 years, becoming for many in Saint Lucia the trusted face presenting the nation’s televised weather news. After graduating from the University of the West Indies in 1998, which she had balanced with part-time work to assist with funding her education, Michelle took the bold step of moving from a career in meteorology into mainstream public service. Starting as an accountant within the Ministry of Communications and Works – and via completing her degree at Westminster – Michelle progressed into executive level management, and now holds the position of Permanent Secretary in Saint Lucia’s Department of Education, Innovation and Gender Relations. Activities for International Women’s Day fall within her remit.
Continuing to balance education, family and her career, Michelle also provided her services to the Small Enterprise Development Unit, within the Ministry of Commerce, assisting young entrepreneurs with small and medium size businesses with their plans and providing training support. She has also started her own small consultancy business. International Business & Management Consultants’ main thrust is to help start-ups and small and medium size companies to survive and become competitive and successful. IBMC aims to provide such entities with strategic direction and growth formulas, which these enterprises often overlook in the course of daily business concerns. Of course, it’s not all work! Michelle spends time at the gym, continues to be an avid reader and has now started dabbling in fluid art. The latter has the potential to develop into a business!
Emily Eby, Founder NUA x DESIGN (MA Interior Design, 2018)
Emily Eby is the founder of NUA x DESIGN, an online interior design company aiming to democratise interior design though e-design services and consultations. She is a creative by trade and education, with over eight years of experience in the home furnishing industry in both the US and the UK. She put herself through college in the US where she studied Textile Technology at North Carolina State University. She then worked as a woven textile designer before moving to London to complete an MA in Interior Design at the University of Westminster.
Emily has no formal business training but has been benefiting from the University of Westminster's Graduate Accelerator Programme to build NUA x DESIGN into an award-winning business. She loves meeting new people, ideating, and hopes to have a fruitful career as both an entrepreneur and eventually working within the start-up industry to help others turn their ideas into reality.